Born in Montreal in 1898, Emmett Hall completed his law degree at the University of Saskatchewan and later served as Chief Justice of the province (appeal division) before his appointment to the Supreme Court in 1962. In 1961, at the request of the Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, Justice Hall led the Royal Commission on Health Services, interviewing hundreds of witnesses in public hearings, bringing attention to the challenges faced by ordinary men and women living with illness or injury.
Hall was active and influential in many major issues including Indigenous rights, equal access to health care and the rights of the disabled. When challenged by opponents who believed expanded health care was too expensive, he responded, “The only thing more expensive than good health care is no health care.”
Following his career in law, Hall served as chancellor of the U of S from 1979–1986. He passed away in 1995.